An extract on #kiloverme
In 1919, a young aviator lieutenant named Albert Plesman sponsored the ELTA aviation exhibition in Amsterdam. The exhibition was a great success; after it closed several Dutch commercial interests intended to establish a Dutch airline, which Plesman was nominated to head. In September 1919, Queen Wilhelmina awarded the yet-to-be-founded KLM its "Royal" ("Koninklijke") predicate. On 7 October 1919, eight Dutch businessmen, including Frits Fentener van Vlissingen, founded KLMthe abbreviation of Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij ("Royal Aviation Society") as one of the first commercial airline companies. Plesman became its first administrator and director.
The first KLM flight took place on 17 May 1920. KLM's first pilot, Jerry Shaw, flew from Croydon Airport, London, to Amsterdam. The flight was flown using a leased Aircraft Transport and Travel De Haviland DH-16, registration G-EALU, which was carrying two British journalists and some newspapers. In 1920, KLM carried 440 passengers and 22 tons of freight. In April 1921, after a winter hiatus, KLM resumed its services using its own pilots, and Fokker F.II and Fokker F.III aircraft. In 1921, KLM started scheduled services.
KLM's first intercontinental flight took off on 1 October 1924. The final destination was Jakarta (then called 'Batavia'), Java, in the Dutch East Indies; the flight used a Fokker F.VII with registration H-NACC and was piloted by Van der Hoop. In September 1929, regular scheduled services between Amsterdam and Batavia commenced. Until the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, this was the world's longest-distance scheduled service by airplane. By 1926, it was offering flights to Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Brussels, Paris, London, Bremen, Copenhagen, and Malm, using primarily Fokker F.II and Fokker F.III aircraft.
In 1930, KLM carried 15,143 passengers. The Douglas DC-2 was introduced on the Batavia service in 1934. The first experimental transatlantic KLM flight was between Amsterdam and Curaao in December 1934 using the Fokker F.XVIII "Snip". The first of the airline's Douglas DC-3 aircraft were delivered in 1936; these replaced the DC-2s on the service via Batavia to Sydney. KLM was the first airline to serve Manchester's new Ringway airport, starting June 1938. KLM was the only civilian airline to receive the Douglas DC-5; the airline used two of them in the West Indies and sold two to the East Indies government, and is thus the only airline to have operated all Douglas 'DC' models other than the DC-1.